Here is a piece originally published in the Spring 1997 edition of Glastonbury’s Avalon magazine. It also features in an expanded context as an important part of the narrative in my book Avalonian Aeon.
I am posting it on the day of a full moon in acknowledgement of the time of year and to affirm the virtues of voracious reading. If you feed your head for years on end with all manner of input it may eventually coalesce in a manner that transcends the sum of its parts.
I originally subtitled the piece A Hermetic collage. The form of its construction is such that it weaves together quotes from a variety of sources that were all part of the inspirational blend that generated the vision in the first place.
In July 1992, after a long, intense, and reasoned derangement of all the senses, I sought in the Book of Thoth for a key to understanding. There I beheld the Priestess of the Silver Star. Through the body of my imagination I then found myself in the tower, the pylon, the gateway atop Glastonbury Tor at night with my back to the town, gazing upon the enchanted landscape.
A full moon beamed out and gradually seemed to form the headdress of a figure I recognised as the glorious vision of Isis recorded by Apuleius in the Golden Ass. This work, from the late second century AD presented a detailed image of Isis from a time when she had become the most successful goddess of the Roman Empire having assimilated aspects and visual attributes from many of the other goddesses of the ancient world. At a time shortly before the triumph of Christianity she represents the essence of the old goddess culture before it was suppressed.
Nonetheless, through the secret heresies of the western Hermetic tradition and the natural experiences of people of all kinds, something of the vision infused and inspired continuity of veneration of the divine feminine until its gradual re-emergence in more recent times. Seeing her in giant form vibrating awesome power in the Glastonbury landscape proved to be a doorway to a great threshold crossing in my life.
This dynamic energy of an ancient tradition is a living presence in Glastonbury that delights in being imagined, contemplated on, and conjured forth. It is all of the vision of Apuleius and more. From the heart chakra of the world, full of grace, she calls, particularly at times of the full moon and the silver star, to a planet poised on the edge of an abyss of confusion, dispersion, and dissolution, offering a loving path to understanding, wisdom, and the radiance beyond space.
I present now my meditation of the moon in full with an invitation to those who may feel a response to perhaps recall it at the appropriate times. The nature of its composition is such as to show the many elements present in my life which enabled such imaginings to occur and gave them their flavour. It is also intended to affirm that “flavour” as a deliberate magickal act.
See if you will.
Glastonbury Tor at night. A hooting of owls. Distant barking of dogs. In the great deep soundless, boundless sea, of infinite space and infinite stars, the silver moon is rising, riding through scudding clouds that clear, leaving the naked brilliance of the voluptuous night sky. As the hour of the high full moon draws near, beyond the deepest pools of emptiness, infinitesimal ripples in the creative silence of the first cause stir forth a wave, a motion, an emanation.
A silvery cloud of pale moon mist now forms a shimmering pillar that spans the space from moon to earth. Beneath the heaven tree of stars hung with humid night blue fruit, it vibrates with energies of flux and reflux. Within an aura of a lambent flame of blue it begins to coalesce into a human form, becoming ever clearer, until revealing itself as Isis of Avalon, Queen of Heaven, Spirit of the Moon, whose cosmic love and inspiration radiates eternally. Here is the mistress of the tides, the secret silent tides of death and birth, tides of men’s souls, and dreams and destiny, tides that are rising in our hearts and minds.
The tresses of her hair are long and thick and stream down softly, flowing and curling about her divine neck. She wears as a crown twelve stars entwined with many garlands of flowers. At its centre on her forehead shines, white and glowing, a round mirror-like full moon disc. To its right and left it is supported by the furrowed coils of rising vipers with ears of corn bristling beside them. Her tunic is of many colours, woven of the finest linen, gleaming multi-coloured, at first glance with snowy whiteness, then yellow like a crocus, rosy-red like a flame. She is bedizened with gold, jewels, and pearls. Her cloak is deep black, glistening with sable sheen. It is cast about her, passing under her right arm and brought together on her left shoulder. Part of it hangs down like a shield and droops in many a fold, the whole reaching to the lower edge of her garment with tasselled fringe. Here and there, along its embroidered border, and also on its surface, are scattered sequins of sparkling stars. In their midst the full moon shone forth like a flame of fire. All along the border of this gorgeous robe there is an unbroken garland of all kinds of flowers and fruits. In her right hand she carries a bronze sistrum rattle. In her left, a golden cup, an alchemical Grail, from which rises a snake. Her soft feet, not hurting the little flowers, are shod with sandals woven of the palm of victory. Perfumes of resinous woods and gums waft through the air. Out of the timeless she has come down into time. Out of the un-named she has come down into human symbols. In the land that has called her, amidst the people whose hearts she alone can fill, she is calling forth the flame of the hearts of all. Thus she abides. A thing of beauty and a joy forever.
Extending her right arm, she shakes her sistrum, sounding soft celestial bells. From it, like falling stars floating to earth, a sparkling shower of crystalline moon blessings descends, touching the whole of the sacred landscape, resonating through its multitudinous aethyrs, all touching, all penetrant. The Tor maze begins to glow a gentle gold that pulsates as if emerging from just beneath the ground. The moonlit sparkling Abbey hums as the face of Isis of Avalon is also seen in the Mary Chapel. All across the land falls the glory of the stars into the hearts of men. The Chalice Well, its cover open, reflects in its water the holy face as the ground seems to exhale in a great relaxation. Spreading out and touching the Wearyall Hill thorn, to Bride’s Mound and beyond, out in all directions the gratuitous grace extends, until finally, the outlines of the signs of the Glastonbury Zodiac light up and energise. The sense of dimensions dissolves.
The Tor is no longer visible in its physical form. There is simply a void of stars in which shine the outline shape of a great phoenix. Within it is the golden form of a maze, a brain, the morphogenetic field pattern for the embryogenesis of the world sensorium. It is resonating and communicating with the sun behind the sun. Ursa Major’s seven stars appear through the maze heart of the phoenix for a brief moment. The image of the Tor and the surrounding landscape and night sky then emerge. The maze remains, glowing and pulsating around the slopes. The larger shape of the phoenix is also still visible, lit up across the ground.
In the sky above the Tor, a blue point of light appears and grows bigger, beginning to descend. It becomes more clearly visible as a shimmering egg floating down slowly towards the Tor, as Isis of Avalon beams her grace upon it. Within it can now be seen a foetus, upside down, its left forefinger touching its mouth. A babe in an egg of blue. The New Aeon, the New Age. Coming to birth as its devotees in Glastonbury send healing and magick out unto the entire world and beyond; yea out unto the entire world and beyond.
Thank you Apuleius, Aleister Crowley, Dion Fortune, Robert Graves, John Cowper Powys, Hermann Haindl, and many others besides.
“Isis of Avalon” is the name of an Iseum of the Fellowship of Isis focused by Celia Thomas.
Lunar Music Suite by Steve Hillage from the 1976 album ‘L’ produced by Todd Rundgren. A mystical psychedelic rock masterpiece that provided a piece of the Hermetic collage.